Paul vs. James (Pt. 11)

By William Handschumacher

A Special Rock of Offence Bible Study





*****************************************************

This is Part 11 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 3 ----- Part 4
Part 5 ----- Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8
Part 9 ----- Part 10 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

*****************************************************





Exposing An Unholy Influence that
Dominates Most of Modern-Day
Christendom




Church leaders and the denominations they represent tend to look for ways to ignore the "obsolete and annulled" description, as used in Hebrews chapters 7 and 8 because it exposes the falsehood in some of their cherished traditional teachings. We see the beginning of this practice in Acts chapter 15, where a group of Jewish ministers (referred to as "believing Pharisees) demanded that Paul include 'obedience to Old Testament Law' in his Grace-based gospel message. However, as we previously learned, yielding to this 'insertion of the Law' into the gospel message invalidates the Grace by which the Church is now saved. Despite the fact that the apostolic leadership correctly rejected their request - these ministers continued preaching their corrupt gospel message throughout the early church. As a result, more than 1900 years later, it now exists in countless modern-day variants and off-shoots - found almost everywhere within Christendom.

Today, this error (actually a heresy) continues its influence through a doctrine known as 'Replacement Theology' ... also referred to by some theologians as 'Supersessionism'.


Addressing a Popular Misguided
Defense Strategy


In Galatians 3:26-29 the Apostle Paul tells the Church: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Those who embrace Replacement theology often use this verse as a way to say that it's wrong to attach a special significance to Israel (or the Jewish people) when studying the Bible ... because God clearly says that He treats all of us as being one - or the same. However this popular belief is based on out of context Scripture, where they try to make God say something - that He does not say.


Paul is revealing a condition that only exists under the New Covenant that now operates after the cross. Under the Old Testament program that governed before the New Covenant of Christ had officially started ... this condition where "everyone is one" (especially when speaking about Jews and Gentiles) did not exist. This is why Paul's command to "rightly (or correctly) divide God's Word" (2 Timothy 2:15), where God treats Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church in different ways - must be observed by all serious students of the Bible.



An Increasing Number of Bible
Scholars are Now Warning About
the Demonic Nature of
Replacement Theology


Replacement theology (also known as Supersessionism) disregards a literal interpretation of Scripture and attempts to rewrite, not only the whole body of Scripture, but specifically--Bible Prophecy. As a result, various church leaders and their followers change the wording of the Bible by insisting--that when you see the words 'Israel or Jew' in Scripture, God is actually referring to the Church". This unholy practice redefines these terms by claiming that The Church is now "the new Israel". When you hear Christ's Church referred to as "the new Israel", it's a warning that you're in contact with this dangerous and misleading theology.

The demonic practice of redefining
Scripture is accomplished by
distorting or ignoring the context
of the Bible. But, if your desire
is to discover Spiritual truth,
then respecting the Bible's
context must be a priority.


Simply understood, Replacement Theology/Supersessionism teaches that because the Jewish people rejected and crucified Jesus Christ, God has permanently rejected Israel and "replaced" her with the New Testament Church in His overall Biblical plan for the world. As a result, Supersessionists believe that the original covenants between Israel and God (such as the Mosaic Covenant and it's Law) are now transferred to - and binding upon - the Church; which they now believe to be "the new Israel". Both Roman Catholic and Protestant elements of the world-wide church, especially those involved in the countless brands of Calvinism and Reformed theology are hopelessly corrupted by this doctrine. Once again, this is a mainstream problem that afflicts the entire Christian Church and is not some kind of "fringe" movement or sect.

There are hundreds of different off-shoots and derivatives of this misleading theology, which may not all teach exactly the same thing. Yet, the core belief that God 'replaces Israel with the Church' - or considers the Church to be the same as Israel in Scripture - is always present in some form. Over the last few hundred years, this popular error (and the various systems of theology established on its tenants) is now so embedded within Christendom that many Christians and their leaders automatically redefine Scripture - combining (or mixing together) these vastly different Biblical programs. Everyone involved in this method of interpreting the Bible tends to have his or her own version of the practice, which contributes to the confusion.


Replacement theology has been around so long that a vast majority of professing Christians now assume that when God is speaking to the Israelites in the Bible, He's giving the same instructions - or making the same promises - to Christians (or the Church) ... because they are programmed by their denomination to wrongly view the Church as "the new Israel" (or Israel's replacement).



This is a disastrous way of
interpreting the Bible because
it completely changes God's
original intention in the
Scriptures and perverts the
principles that govern eternal
life under the New Covenant.
For these reasons Replacement
Theology qualifies as a heresy
that leads Christians
dangerously astray in their
faith.



Once again, Replacement Theology/Supersessionism (and its countless off-shoots and variants) is not only found in most Protestant churches, but also in Roman Catholicism and many other Christian organizations and movements. It is a man-made doctrine that is not supported anywhere in the Bible, yet continues unchallenged because it is now assumed to be part of "Historic Christianity" and therefore often embraced without question. As a result, most seminaries tend to pass it on to their students as Biblical truth.

There is one shocking characteristic of Replacement Theology/Supersessionism that continues to spread throughout Christendom. It involves legitimizing and encouraging anti-Semitism (a hatred of the Jewish people). Anti-Semitism was the original motivational force behind the Holocaust in WW2 that killed over 6 million Israelites and another 4 million from other ethnic groups. Why is this important? A widely accepted religious agenda that seems to originate from God ... continues to quietly operate within the Christian Church. It condemns the Jewish race as eternally rejected - and evil. The existence of this agenda is all some groups need to justify a religious campaign of persecution - where it is believed that they are performing a service to God with His full approval. This world-wide effort is now underway ... once again. We hope that true Christian believers will refuse to be a part of this movement when they see the distortions and understand that God not only condemns; but also places a curse on those who embrace this kind of toxic religious faith.


The following comments are taken
from the "Got Questions" Christian
website under the title;

"What is Replacement Theology/
Supersessionism?"

We totally agree with this entire
article - which is available HERE



Among the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel are the church has replaced Israel (replacement theology), the church is an expansion of Israel (covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. The prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are spiritualized or allegorized into promises of God's blessing for the church.

Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2,000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1,900 years?

The view that Israel and the church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. Biblically speaking, the church is distinct from Israel, and the terms church and Israel are never to be confused or used interchangeably.

We are taught from Scripture that the church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). The church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings of the Mosaic Covenant were valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God's program during these past 2,000 years of dispersion (see Romans 11).




What Does All of this Have
To Do With Our Subject of
Paul vs James?




The primary characteristic of Replacement theology is to replace original Israel, with the New Testament Church, which is now declared to be "the new Israel" ... and this change is applied throughout the whole of Scripture. As a result, the devout followers of this theology claim that - wherever we see the words "Israel or Jew" in the Bible - it actually means the Church, which now functions as "the new Israel".


This essentially means that Israel
and the Church are treated as
being 'interchangeable" when
interpreting or teaching the Bible.



However, one of the primary methods of determining the context of the Bible is understanding that both Israel and the Church are unique and separate entities that operate under different sets of covenant laws ... and therefore can never be treated as "interchangeable". This is why the Bible translators separated the Holy Scriptures into two parts: The Old Testament (which applies to Israel) - and the New Testament (which applies to the Church). Keeping Israel and the Church separated in such a way is what Saint Paul refers to as; "rightly dividing the Word" (2 Timothy 2:15) - and exists as God's official foundation for correct Bible interpretation.


When the error of Replacement theology is applied to the Epistle of James ... the fact that it is specifically addressed to "the twelve tribes of Israel" no longer matters - because the Church is now considered to be "the new Israel". This means that Replacement theology treats the Epistle of James as being addressed to the Church regardless of what is stated in the salutation. This total perversion of the Bible's context not only corrupts the Holy Scriptures, but also changes Christ's salvation into something God never intended.

So now ... according to Replacement theology - Christian salvation is obtained (according to James) by works ... when Saint Paul warned that it is obtained only by Grace through faith (as the gift of God) - having no requirement for works. As a result, Paul and James now contradict each other on the subject of salvation, causing great confusion and forcing ministers to make one of three decisions.



First: They compromise and mix
works and grace together into
a perverted gospel.

Second: They reject Paul's position
on grace and embrace the works-based
salvation of James, which is also a
perverted gospel for the Church.

Third: They consider the works-
based salvation of James to be
'not binding upon the Church'
and embrace Paul's Grace-based
salvation...which represents the
true gospel of Christ.



Because of the perceived contradiction between Paul and James, modern-day Christendom is splintered into these three positions - which results in massive confusion and fierce disagreements between various groups of professing Christians. However, there is no contradiction when we respect the rules of correct Bible interpretation - or what Paul refers to as "rightly dividing the Word of God" (2 Timothy 2:15).


Reviewing What We
Have Learned


Whenever we see Israel, the house of Israel, the twelve tribes of Israel - or "the circucision" referenced in the New Testament - it is referring to Jews who believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) as their Messiah, yet continue to practice obedience to the Old Testament Law of Moses as a requirment to obtain salvation. This is why the salvation of this group was obtained through works - as described in the Epistle of James. These are Jews who are making the transition from not knowing their Messiah ... to recognizing Yeshua HaMashiach as their Messiah. As we previously discovered, the existence of this group and its conditional law-based salvation was temporary ... where God was giving the entire nation of Israel time to repent for their sin of crucifying Christ.

This is why Paul recognized the existence of two gospels; one of which was "the gospel to the circumcision" and its conditional law-based salvation ... which applied only to this group of Jews in transition. Paul then revealed that only Peter, James and John possessed apostolic authority to preach this gospel to their Jewish brethren.


This was the group, referred to
as "the twelve tribes of Israel"
to whom James addressed his
Epistle.



The second gospel that Paul lists - "the gospel to the uncircumcision" - applies only to the Church and provides salvation as God's free gift given according to Grace. Paul states that He was the only one who possessed apostolic authority (as God's ordained "apostle to the Gentiles" - See Romans 11:13-15) to preach this gospel to the uncircumcision ... now known as the Gentile Church and included, for the first time, all earthly races of people.




Important Reminder: the word "uncircumcised" refers to the Gentiles - which is a previously rejected and cursed group that God now invites into the redemptive program of His Son - also known as "The New Covenant" (See Ephesians 2:11-22). The word "Gentile" is a term that encompasses all races of the earth. It is only under the New Covenant of Christ that Gentiles are invited to participate in His redemptive program, which was first introduced through Peter's evangelistic message at the household of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 (covered earlier in this study). Before that time, God's program was exclusively reserved for the Jews as "the circumcision".




The following statements reveal why
Paul is careful to list these two
gospels separately in Galatians 2:7-9


It's right to preach "the gospel to the circumcision" and its works-based conditional salvation to Jews during the transition ... but wrong to preach this same gospel to the Church under Grace. This is why the salutation at the beginning of the Epistle of James must be respected - where he addresses his writings exclusively to; "the twelve tribes of Israel" ... and not to the Church.

However, some ministers of Paul's day crossed this forbidden line and preached the gospel designed for the circumcision (law-abiding Jews) ... to the newly established Gentile Church. One of the first victims of this practice was the Galatian Church established by the Apostle Paul. After Paul left the area, certain "Jewish evangelists" came in with their law-based gospel of works, which nearly destroyed the "saving faith" of the congregation.

In order to address the error, Paul wrote his "Epistle to the Galatians" which gives a stern warning to the entire congregation - and to all Christians living today:

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-8)



Paul is warning that there
is only one gospel designed
for the Church ... the gospel
of the Grace of Christ.



However, the modern-day Christian Church is plagued by the same problem that nearly destroyed the Galatian congregation in the first century. A majority of church leaders (but thankfully not all) preach this forbidden law-based gospel of works - while thinking that it's the authentic "Gospel of Christ". Yet, Paul calls it "a perverted gospel". Some of these leaders are part of the more recent "Hebrew roots movement". But most are seminary-trained ministers, who were instructed under the tenants of Replacement theology. This is why many of them believe that salvation depends on our works - or a mixture of works plus grace. Unfortunately, this popular belief effectively cancels the Grace by which we are saved (See Romans 11:6 and Ephesians 2:8-9). Regardless of which position is taken, Paul still considers this modern works-based version of the gospel to be 'a perverted gospel' that causes a curse to fall on those who teach it to the Church (Galatians 1:6-8).

Since the New Testament reveals that the Galatians were the first recorded victims of this false theology, modern-day Bible scholars often refer to it as "the Galatian error - or the Galatian heresy". But Paul warned that a 'perversion' takes place whenever the "gospel of the circumcision" (only designed for law-abiding Jews) is illegally taught to the Gentile Church that is now under "the gospel to the uncircumcision" (also known as the Gospel of Grace found within "The New Covenant").

All serious students of the Bible should understand that the existence of these two gospels only lasted during the transition from Old Testament Law - to New Covenant Grace (a little over 100 years). The New Testament Scriptures were written during this same time period ... which is why Paul specifically mentions both gospels in his Epistle to the Galatians (previously discussed).


However, when the transition ends (thought to be twenty or thirty years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70), only "the gospel to the uncircumcision" (also known as Paul's Gospel of Grace) remains ... with the Epistles of Saint Paul now acting as God's official instructions concerning "The new and living way of Christ". This is the same message Jesus is now speaking from Heaven - since Paul is only repeating the words Jesus previously gave him during his trip to God's throne (or what theologians refer to as; the Pauline Revelation).

Although there are many doctrines and teachings within Christendom that claim to be "the gospel"; Paul's Gospel (also referred to as; The Gospel of Christ) is the only one that God honors today - regardless of what the critics say. Although we previously quoted Paul's words - we will do so again because of their importance.



"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-8)





*****************************************************

This is Part 11 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 3 ----- Part 4
Part 5 ----- Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8
Part 9 ----- Part 10 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

*****************************************************




Return To Home Page
Return To Basics of Salvation Page








Disclaimer

Rock of Offence is a "not-for-profit" Internet-based Biblical research and public educational project of the owner. It is not a church or religious organization and has no paid staff and no building or offices. We are not a commercial business. We do not solicit money or ask for monetary "offerings" from the public. This project is referred to as "a Bible-based ministry". Yet, it receives no monetary support that traditional religious organizations require. We do not receive any money, revenue or financial benefit from advertisements or products found or displayed on any website hyper-link, which is included on this website or webpage. We receive no compensation of any kind from any groups, individuals or corporations mentioned on this website/webpage or its hyper-links. The information found on this website is offered only as the opinion of the author. Unfortunately, we do not personally know you or have all the required information about your specific situation. For that reason, the comments and opinions offered on this website are never to be substituted for the advice of a licensed professional. All visitors should seek the guidance of a minister or professional counselor familiar with you and your family before making any important personal decisions about your life. All Scripture quotes in our research articles and commentaries are from the King James and the New King James versions of the Bible unless specifically noted. Due to the non-profit research and educational nature of Rock of Offence, we qualify under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the "fair use" clause for copyrighted materials. For this reason, any copyrighted work on this website is provided under the "fair use" provision without profit or payment for non-profit research, educational and discussion purposes only. This provision of U.S. Law can be viewed at:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml



Copyright © 2021 Rock of Offence
Most recent revision April 2021